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Nai Carlisle uses Purdue roots to grow as hoopster

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Junior-to-be getting interest from many Midwest programs

Friday, May 9, 2014 - 1:36 am

It really isn't surprising to see Nai Carlisle bull through the lane for a basket.

Actually, it wouldn't be surprising to see him plow through the line for a first down if he played football, but his place is on the basketball court.

The reason is he works out with his dad, who is not your normal workout partner. Carlisle's dad, Duane Carlisle, is the director of sport performance at Purdue. This position includes being the head strength and conditioning coach for the Boilermakers football team, so it is no surprise Nai Carlisle is strong and has a build that looks similar to a running back even though he plays point guard.

It is also a reason he doesn't shy from contact when driving to the hoop.

“It's definitely a plus to have that advantage (of strength) over other players,” Carlisle said. “I just want to use it over other players and know when to attack.”

This build also comes from genetics. Carlisle's older brother, Amir, is a running back at Notre Dame. With this disposition and his father leading the workouts, Nai Carlisle is starting to show colleges what his strength and overall abilities on the basketball court can do.

The junior-to-be has started to catch the eye of major programs in the region. He already has a scholarship offer from Saint Louis University and has garnered interest from Butler, Notre Dame, Xavier, New Mexico and Purdue.

The Boilermakers facilities are located just down the street from where Carlisle goes to school at West Lafayette High School.

“It's a really good school and really good academics and it's a good basketball program,” Carlisle said about Purdue. “It's always nice when a college is interested in you, and I mean, it's in the hometown … (I can) be near my family, so they can come to watch my games.”

While Carlisle would enjoy having the opportunity to have his family at his games, he wouldn't guarantee a Purdue commitment if coach Matt Painter were to make an offer. For now, he is just hoping to impress as many colleges as he can.

This continues during the summer circuit, including last weekend at the Bill Hensley Memorial Run-N-Slam All-Star Classic, where he played for Indiana Elite in the junior-to-be division and routinely scored in double digits.

This also means improving his overall game so that it isn't just his strength and ability to score in the lane that college coaches see from the point guard.

“I just keep working on the feel of the game and putting it all together: the dribbling, the attacking, passing, good balance of attacking and passing,” Carlisle said. “I want to continue to work on knowing when to score and when to pass, and that kind of balance. I want to keep figuring it out and work on my shooting.”